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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Flip Flop

When I tell people we flip houses they usually respond they've thought about it and would like to get into it. I noticed when I mentioned that just the other morning while getting ready for work I found a roach happily bumbling around on my bedspread or when we discovered the funny smell in the basement was a leaking septic pipe the enthusiasm seems to dim a bit. People freak out when they find we paid $40 for the door they paid $1500 for or that my bathroom vanity only cost me 300 as opposed to the retail price of $1300. You can do it too, if you're willing to spend every weekend digging through the clearance pile at the local home store, culling Facebook Marketplace and then driving to points unknown to get the perfect claw foot tub. 
We're very excited about this house because we have managed to collect what we like. But it has taken days and weeks to get it. And you can't be picky or a perfectionist - if you are you need to find something else to do. Just about everything we buy is dinged, damaged, returned or used. The beautiful front door with the leaded glass has a crack in the corner of the glass. The cherry oak entertainment system has a chunk out of the side. The claw foot tub is a bit rusty, the big bathroom vanity has some scuffs and a door that needed glued. My entire kitchen? Was someone else's kitchen once upon a time, we still cannot get the light to turn out in the oven but it makes a good night light! When David hung the chandelier (originally $300, returned and we bought it for $50) we had to laugh because it hung 10 inches above our dining room table! But he was able to remove the pole and chain and it's great now.

We deal with leaks, mold, bugs and things that go bump in the night in stride. When I found the roach no one screamed. David found his glasses and we Googled Roaches in Pennsylvania - it turned out to be a wood roach, not a cock roach. We live in chaos for months, today I rearranged the bedroom again and it finally no longer feels like we're sleeping in a supply closet. The box spring is on the floor and will remain there until we find the furniture we really want. Until then I'm using my grandmother's dresser and David is the using the one we used to store sheets. If you look at my pictures they tend to be of the kitchen, dining room and living room because everywhere else is piled with boxes and building materials. But that's ok - as each room is done we unpack and rearrange and by January we should be ready to have guests. 

Some people can't do that and it does get to me once in awhile. But it does not last long and it's a temporary situation, sometimes a very funny one. We've slept on floors, eaten using a cooler as a table, washed dishes in the bathtub and chased cows out of our yard. As hard as it can be, in the end it's a great feeling to step back at what used to be an eyesore and marvel at what it has become. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

CBR - Not In My House

I recently attended a conference and one of the topics was related to CBR - Conscientious Based Refusals. What this means is if you are, say Pro-Life and you have a patient that has an infection related to an abortion you can refuse to take care of them. If you're a born again Christian you can refuse to take care of a child of a gay couple. The speaker didn't offer any solutions, but went over the problems and there was not time for discussions, but it was honestly, a bunch of crap. I get tired of hearing about the clerk that refused to authorize marriage licenses because it went against her religion. Or the orthodox Jewish men that claim they cannot sit next to a woman on a plane, the Muslim stewardess that refused to serve alcohol.....two words people - GO HOME. Especially the health care professionals - I'll take you out myself. 

Shining example - I do NOT like ultra-conservative Roman Catholics. In my opinion that is a misogynistic religion that encourages and shields pedophiles. Love the churches, but the fact that they continue to steal money from the masses to fund the "priests"  perverted lifestyles and then give over their children to be raped is beyond belief. Hopefully, they'll all rot in the hell they're forever trying to send everyone else to. I find them reprehensible, disgusting and I don't think they should even be allowed to breed. So, would it have been OK with you if,when I worked on the surgical trauma I refused to take care of your grandmother? Or speak to you? 
Hmm. That probably doesn't sit too well and it shouldn't. I am a health care professional, "professional" being the important part of that statement. I should not- and nor should you - ever refuse to treat anyone, even if it's hard. Because once you start that CBR stuff, where does it end? Can I refuse you on the basis of I don't like the way you live your life? One of the things working in a state university hospital I learned is it is not my job to judge anyone, ever.

When I worked in the hospital years ago we had a man on our floor that came in, his stony faced wife at his side who made it clear she was there to sign paper work,nothing more. But then we found out he had come to us from prison. And his wife let us know he had been incarcerated for brutally raping their friend's 12 year old daughter and threatening to kill her if she told - and he was still blaming the child. He was a needy, whiny thing - saying he had just "made one mistake" - and there we were having to take care of that mess. Some of the staff flat out refused, all of us beyond disgusted. The manager took us into the conference room and said if anyone refused -they could go home now. It was understood we obviously did not approve of this person,but we did not come to work to approve or disapprove of anyone. We were there to do our job, to take care of the patients and that was it, judging other people was not part of our job. And you know what - we did not like it, but we did it. It did not mean we had to engage this person in conversation or even speak to him beyond medical conversation but we did have to do our job. 
And that is how it should be - if you take a job you should be willing to do it. If you can't you should find some other profession that you can follow your religious or moral constraints and leave the rest of us alone. And as for me - I still do take care of everyone. I've cared for alcoholics, pedophiles, members of Aryan Nation, illegal immigrants, criminals. I do my job and keep my opinion to myself, because my job is being a nurse, not your judge and jury. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017


We are onto week three which is usually the week you discover additional problems and then some fun things. The furnace actually DOES work - David hooked up a thermostat and we fired that baby up - here is what we found:
A) It came on with no problem at all

B) it is way too powerful for this house. This is a cement block house that had single pane, aluminum windows and no insulation to speak of so I'm sure that's why it will blow your socks off. We turned it up to 72 and it was like being trapped in hell. The fan blows up the vent so hard you could actually do a re-enactment of the subway grate scene that Marilyn Monroe did in The Seven Year Itch. David demonstrated in a tee shirt and sweatpants last night.

C) it scares the absolute Be-Jesus out of Reuben when the fan comes on. Every time it came on last night he got a squirrelly look on his face, tucked his tail and went upstairs to hide on the futon. No amount of comforting helped and he would not eat his dinner with it running. He actually started eating, the fan came on and he disappeared upstairs and had to be coaxed back down, until it went off again - it took him 3 hours to eat! He will either starve this winter or we'll have to wear parkas between 5 and 6 pm.

We were going to wait til spring to see if we really wanted to replace it but I think it will go sooner than that. It's an older, not very efficient furnace so we have to replace anyhow, better soon than later.
The upstairs bedrooms are not as bad we had originally thought - the floors in two of them just need some minor repair where David had to take it up to install the beam (he had taken out a support wall). One of them is bare wood and I think with some linseed oil it will pretty cool. The middle bedroom  David plans on using as a home office so he can do whatever he wants with the floor and the rest of it. We have the phone situation figured out, we did end up with a land line but it's only $15 a month and that's cheaper than a 3rd cell phone. The no cable thing is also working well, most of the stuff we like to watch is on Hulu or Netflix and I don't think we've even noticed this week.

We DO have a bit of a dampness issue in the basement, when it rains you can really see it. But I've been running the dehumidifier and it's completely gotten rid of the musty odor. When it rains we just run the fan on to dry it out faster so we don't end up with mold for now. It will be an easy fix in the spring I think and it's not so bad it's ruining stuff. It's really just one end of the basement, the rest of it is as dry as a bone. And this house is closer to my office than I had originally thought - if I take the back roads it's only 45 miles. And I say only because I was driving 64 from our house in Garards Fort - that's 40 less miles of travel a day for me. The dogs are getting used to the place this week, they have been off their game as it's a big change for them, but soon I think it will be like we've never lived anywhere else. 

Monday, September 4, 2017


So, we're going into week 2 and things are starting to move along. Today, I just cleaned and mopped. And mopped again. I have two of the bedrooms upstairs in some sort of order and honestly, they're much bigger than I initially thought they were. The nest that was peeking out of the ceiling I tackled first - it was much bigger than I initially thought too. I pulled handful after handful, when I thought I'd gotten most of it I started pulling down the rest of the ceiling tiles. And down came the rest of the nest all over me. Eww. It was not as bad as the septic pipe that broke, but it was worse than the pile of wet stuff under the sink. I would give it an 6. It was so huge it filled a trash bag and I have no idea what built it in the first place. But I got it all down and cleaned up.

David mowed the horse pen in the middle and it's pretty awesome. We've let the dogs run it a few time for a few minutes so they can learn thier boundaries. The only issue of course is the barbed wire, which Boo ran into the right off the bat. I was like seriously? You've got almost 4 acres to bounce around in and you head right for the the fence. But they're loving it and it was nice for them to get a run in, it's been a couple of weeks since they've gotten to kick their heels up. Bob the cat has been going outside for the past few days during the day and seems to adjusting well. We had one incident with other cats but it was short lived and hasn't happened again.

I scrubbed down the fireplace and put some pictures on the mantle, we are nowhere near picture hanging but it makes it looks a bit more homelike. David hooked up the icemaker, the kitchen is pretty well organized. I've been using my gas stoves and you know what? There IS a difference, a pretty significant one. David has gotten almost all of the windows in downstairs and we're still working on the closet problem. We're both a bit cranky - a 3 day weekend was just 3 more days I could work, before....going to work.  It will end at some point and it's  worth the effort, I can't wait to see this place wehen it's done - can you?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Phase Two

So, we are here going on two weeks - I always think of this as Phase 2. We've gotten some unpacking done, we have a stove, fridge, TV, lights and a new toilet. But the gild is off the lily because of course now, we are finding some things that were not as apparent as they were when we bought it. The Big One is the funny smell in the basement and the big wet area.  Part of it is we need drainage as the house is on the downhilly bit, but the other..... the smell was getting a bit stronger. David had stuff stored in the downstairs bathroom so he emptied it out and discovered that big sewage pipe. He thinks someone must've dumped corrosive fluids down it and it ate through the bottomy bit of the pipe, which caused it to leak.....Septic Hoedown. I will not go into details but it was NOT pleasant. But he has it under control, thank goodness and onward. 

On the upside David got that door opened to the outside steps - and we have outside steps! David had thought they'd collapsed but it turned out they were simply buried - He shoveled the dirt off and they're in perfect condition! He got rid of the old door and replaced it with one with a window which lets in a ton of light, that should help with the dampness. He's got both porches closed in with windows so they can be used year around and I have to tell you, here in the country it's beautiful in the morning. 

We fired up the gas fireplace, mixed results. Yes, we got the pilot on - but that was a about it. David moved the Fakie Logs and they are very weird and got it to go on, but it would not fire up past that.  So we will either have to do one marshmallow at a time or buy new innards for it. David might clean it out to see if we can get it going but like the furnace a new one would probably be safer. And the furnace is going to be replaced, we aren't even sure if it works. We would replace it anyhow, old furnaces tend not to be very efficient and they also tend to break down a lot

The electric needs done - some of it is just strange. David has disconnected the most dangerous of it and has started replacing wires and outlets. He's cleaned up the claw foot tub we bought and I can't wait for that to go in. David is a bit scattered, having to live here while he's renovating it is a bit difficult. I'd like him to get the outside part done before the weather turns and then work inside when it's cold. But we can't put anything more away  until he gets more done inside. We can't put the floors down until we paint, he can't build out the closets until he does the floors and that  cant' be done til we paint.........

And of course we need to get the phones straightened out (don't ask), change our address on EVERYTHING, arrgh!! - on and on. But this morning we paid off the last of our debt so for another couple of weeks we will actually be debt free. Don't get all jealous, it is a temporary state, we will be getting another line of credit soon and start looking for the next project. We will have more bills, taxes, flights, birthdays, etc, etc... But I'll enjoy it for now while it lasts. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Ah, sleep. Remember when you were little and you would fight like a demon to stay awake? Reading by flashlight? In the summer we stayed up all night - our parents gave up. Our bedroom windows faced the neighbor's windows, The Palominos. On warm summer nights we would spend evenings hanging out the windows chatting about everything and being silly, getting occasionally shushed but we would talk til we passed out. Make us go to bed? Never!

And here I am as an adult stuck in the no man's land. I welcome sleep most nights, nothing quite as joyous as pulling up the covers and drifting off. Only to be awakened at 10. At 1. Often 3:30am finds me reading - thank goodness for my ereader which is the space age version of my old dependable flashlight I suppose. What keeps me up? Arthritis in my neck - there is nothing quite so invigorating as severe pain from lying in the wrong position, or a few spasms will make you come alive. My neck is the worst, I'm sure exacerbated by the 800 or more miles I drive each week, followed by my shoulder and knees. And then of course there's my old friend

Screaming Anxiety or as I've always thought of her, the 2 AM Girl. She shows up in the middle of the night as you're sleeping hard and cheerfully whispers such gems as "I HOPE YOU DON'T LOSE ALL YOUR MONEY AND DIE POOR".  or "DO YOU THINK YOUR KIDS ARE ALRIGHT? YOU HAVEN'T HEARD FROM THEM IN AWHILE" sometimes she paralyzes me, I can actually feel my anxiety tightening, It's very delightful. Of course when dawn comes her power fades and I realize how silly my worries - that seemed so overpowering in the middle of the night - are only small things. And sometimes I just cannot sleep. And I hate that, watching the clock, saying each hour, three more hours til I have to get up. two more hours til I have to get up.....ah well. Goodnight. I hope.

Monday, August 28, 2017


You would think that as many times as we've done this it would not be  a big deal. But sleep was hard to come by last night, all the what ifs and what will we do came to the forefront keeping me tossing and turning. With not enough sleep and too much stress I headed to the closing, we got there a bit early, but not a lot. We did the closing at the house due to the request of the buyer - a very nice young man in the military who arrived in a large pick up truck with a very large German Shepard. The person doing the closing arrived after him and made the comment as she was going in that she hoped we had gotten the message to leave some chairs and a table, we certainly wouldn't want to do the closing with everyone leaning on the kitchen counters would we! Hmm.
So we did the closing leaning on the kitchen counters after a bit of commentary and the fact that we completely cleaned out the house. The buyer did the walk through while we signed - we've done this so many times we know to wait until the closer shows us where to sign, initial, date, etc... before putting pen to paper. I could tell she appreciated that too. After we got done it was the buyer's turn to start signing, and signing, and signing. He had a pad of paper with him and then he started asking a million questions, were the septic tank was, who were the utilities, did we know anyone who could mow the grass until he got a mower? His mother in law showed up before we were done - she had not had the tour yet.But she went back to wait til everyone left. I had a visit to do this afternoon, we had to get phones, David had to deposit the check, the never ending day.

So now, it's back to work for me tomorrow, I wish I'd taken off a few a days because honestly, I'm exhausted. David is working to get the house done, it will be about  3 or 4 months before he can start to look for another house to flip. Everyone is adjusting, the cat has snuck out numerous times, we let her stay out for a few minutes and then cart her squawking butt back in, The dogs are better, well, except for the random barking. Apparently their hysterical intermittent barking is all that stands between us and roaming hoards marauders. Thank goodness we have good bladder control. So tomorrow is another day, but I'm so relieved that it's over and done with. I hope the new people enjoy the house as much as we did